• a man on podium and woman next to him

      Mayor Gordo at State of the City address (File Photo – Screengrab, KPAS)

      Pasadena Mayor, Victor Gordo, issued a statement regarding the incident at San Rafael Elementary School.

      By News Desk

      To the residents of our community and the parents of the children who attend San Rafael Elementary School:

      As Mayor of Pasadena, and as an alumnus of PUSD schools, I represent a very diverse population and feel it’s imperative to address the actions of San Rafael Elementary School Principal Rudy Ramirez.

      On Sunday, August 14, a resident called the Pasadena Police Department, believing a possible crime was in progress at the neighborhood elementary school. Our Police Department responded, as they will with every call for help received, and located an individual on the campus who was later identified as the school custodian. In the context of what has happened recently in schools across the country, it is appropriate for our officers to respond to all concerns involving our schools and school children.

      While I was not there, I reviewed all videos and reports of the incident. Our Police Department did detain the custodian, subsequently verified his identity, and he was released within six and half minutes. We believe our officers acted professionally, respectfully, and with caution while responding to a call by a resident.

      As leaders of our City, school district, and schools, it is our collective responsibility to act professionally and work together to resolve issues. Our comments are a reflection of ourselves, and as leaders we need to set an example for the students and young persons in our community. We represent the people of our community, and there is no place for divisive statements or jumping to conclusions before facts are made clear.

      Principal Ramirez made very derogatory racial remarks that were caught on camera and recorded in a report by the school district’s security officer. He made remarks that were not factual and were inflammatory. As a leader, mentor and supervisor, he is held to a higher standard, and should be held accountable for the impact his behavior has caused. A school principal is a leader and educator of educators who ultimately shape the minds and views of our children. Whether during work hours or responding after hours, his demeanor, professionalism and judgement should not deviate.

      Race-based denigrating statements are never appropriate. Biased statements directed or intended to denigrate people based on skin color were wrong in times long past, wrong on Sunday, and will always be wrong. There is no place in our society for these types of statements, and certainly not in Pasadena. These denigrating biased statements made by Principal Ramirez are offensive, and on behalf of my constituents, I have a difficult time accepting his apology.

      The City of Pasadena will continue to work diligently to build trust and communication between our police, the school district and our community. We will continue our commitment to supporting our school district so they may provide students with the best educational opportunities possible, as education is the key to stomping out ignorance, hate, and systemic racism wherever it exists. The answer to past racism is not more racism. We should always denounce hate and racism whenever and wherever we encounter it.

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      1. Sara says:

        Yet again “white feelings” are centered and steal the focus from the actual lived and embodied trauma of black and brown people. 🙁 It wasn’t the mayors place to speak out on this and cause further division, really disappointed in his leadership here. Seems like Pasadena hasn’t changed much since 1970 when the schools were forcibly desegregated by the federal government and the white parents opened private schools that they still send their kids to today…

      2. Panda Parent says:

        If the mayor or the superintendent spoke of their constituents like that and threw that kind of language around, they would be disciplined. Also important to consider is that this is the second time Ramirez has had to publicly apologize for insulting and abusive comments toward parents in the last 12 months, or did everyone conveniently forget that he was investigated by the district and was let off with a light slap for bullying a group of parents. Ramirez showed his true colors in that bodycam footage. He may care about the school and the kids but he is also aggressive and opinionated to a fault. To make him out to be a victim is naive. Ramirez was not asked to share his opinion, he wanted to share it, he chose to share it. He is a victim of his own behavior and that kind of behavior should not be tolerated. He was right to be upset but as a professional, he failed to keep his professionalism and if he cares about the school so much, he should step down. The school was there before him and will continue after him.

      3. Sara Dee says:

        The term “racism” is not being used accurately by the mayor or in this article. It seems like the focus has shifted from the real victim of racism (the janitor) and focusing on the behavior of the principal, and how it made whites in the neighborhood feel. With the common definition in DEI/anti-racism work being: racism = prejudice + power, what the white people experienced through the words of Principal Ramirez would be prejudice but not racism. Whites still hold most of the real estate, electoral positions and power in Pasadena…they are not experiencing racism, even if they try to call it that. Seems like the whole city is in need of further tools and education/language to work through this issue in a productive way.

      4. Another Concerned Citizen says:

        From the description of the incident, posted on this site, the janitor was cooperating with police. There was no need to handcuff him.

        Again, from the description on this site of Mr. Ramirez’ alleged “racial comments”, it sounded like he was defending his employee against a racist police overreaction.

        I say we need *more* of Mr. Ramirez’ behavior, not less. Police in this country are out of control,

      5. Robert H says:

        He should be fired for what he said. His apology is insincere, and it seems he is only truly sorry for being recorded saying it. Looks like the story is now being picked up by local CBS as well as LA Times. Replace any other ethnic group in his comment about “nosy a** white neighbors” and this becomes a National story. Racist comments should not be tolerated.

      6. Concerned Citizen says:

        I was riding my bike by when it was happening and I can tell you Mr. Ramariz is so inappropriate. He was screaming racial comments in front of my daughter. He went on to call me names and accuse me of being racist because I’m white. There is a full file of complaints against him for sexist comments towards mommies and rude behavior to fathers as well. Cases have been won against him. All the files should be made public. He has had to make two public apologies in two years. He’s a loose cannon that PUSD has protected at the expense of the community. Thank god the metro police videoed who this man truly is.

      7. Maria says:

        That is not true. When the school was broken into and tagged by people nobody in the neighborhood called the copes then. Many people have had certain issues with some of the neighbors which have been told police. I don’t think it’s fair to judge Mr. Ramirez for a mistake he did based. San Rafael is a top public school for what he and his team do. Why is it that people on top can do things can affect nation, women and kids and get away with it. Mr. Ramirez is receiving his consequences in real life by people who criticize him and and reviving at the fault to his persona. I would of been disappointed and sadden if he didn’t react the way he did for his employee.

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